Photo Courtesy: Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Missouri Board of Education Names State Senator Karla Eslinger as State’s Next Commissioner of Education

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be welcoming in a new Commissioner beginning next year.

The State Board of Education approved State Senator Karla Eslinger as the department’s new Commissioner of Education, effective June 1 of 2024.

She will be replacing current Commissioner Margie Vandeven, who is stepping down after seven years of service.

Eslinger got her start in statewide politics as a State Representative in 2018. She was then elected to the State Senate in 2020.

She is a graduate of Gainesville High School, received her bachelor’s degree from College of the Ozarks, a master’s degree from Missouri State University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Missouri.

Her educational career began as an elementary school teacher before becoming a superintendent for both the Ava and West Plains school districts.

The department Eslinger will now lead supervises over 500 public school districts in the state, and some 900,000 students.

Following her appointment, Eslinger released the following statement:

“I am proud to accept the role of Commissioner of Education for Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. I will continue to serve as senator of the 33rd Senatorial District through the Second Regular Session of the 102nd General Assembly. While finishing my term, I plan to develop an action plan that addresses the immediate and long term challenges facing education in Missouri.

In my view, we must eliminate barriers to high quality education for all children. We must ensure full transparency and accountability is given to parents and the public. Under my leadership there will be accountability for our children at every level.

I support parental choice, public charter schools, rural and urban K-12 and early childhood learning. I have and will continue to advocate for early vocational and technical training, as well as traditional education. We must allow good schools to thrive and continue to succeed, while providing support to educators and addressing concerns we see in the classroom today. Every child deserves to receive the best education according to the expectation and hopes of their parents.”